Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Judge throws out lawsuit against school by mother who claimed it encouraged and hid her teen's gender expression

From The Associated Press:

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by a Maine woman who accused school officials of encouraging her teen’s gender expression by providing a chest binder and using a new name and pronouns, without consulting parents. 

 U.S. District Judge Jon Levy acknowledged his decision that a mother such as Amber Lavigne “might expect school officials to keep her informed about how her child is navigating matters related to gender identity” but he concluded that she failed to establish legal claims for which the school district could be held liable. The lawsuit filed last year was the latest to weigh a minor’s right to privacy when confiding in a mental health professional against a parent’s right to supervise their children’s health and education. 


 LGBTQ Nation provides details about the failed lawsuit: 

 The mother, Amber Lavigne, filed a lawsuit in April of last year against the school for allegedly violating her rights as a parent. She said that she found a chest binder in her 13-year-old child’s room and that her child said they got it from a social worker at school. Lavigne said administrators did not inform her that her child was given a chest binder and that they were going by a different name and pronouns at school. 

She met with school employees who said that their policy on transgender students is in line with state law. She sued, saying the school had a policy “of intentionally withholding and concealing certain information from parents” that was unconstitutional, but the evidence didn’t show that that was the policy, according to the judge. 

 According to the recently retired Chief U.S. District Judge Jon Levy, none of the claims cited within the lawsuit indicated that the school violated any laws. “It is understandable that a parent, such as Lavigne, might expect school officials to keep her informed about how her child is navigating matters related to gender identity at school,” said Levy in the ruling. “Her Complaint, however, fails to plead facts which would, if proven, establish municipal liability… based on an unwritten custom, ratification by a final policymaker, or failure to train.” 

 The guidelines imposed by the district allow for parents to learn of their child’s gender identity, and they oppose keeping secrets. Lavigne reportedly only identified a single instance of this being violated – not enough to hold the school liable, Levy says.